"A Bullet from the Back of a Bush"
-- The Life and Death of Medgar Wiley Evers
(Jul 2, 1925-Jun 12, 1963)


Photograph of Medgar Evers monument by kind permission of Scott Ealy.

Published in "Dignity", No. 9, Mar/Apr 1997, pp. 18-24;
© Manfred Helfert, 1997.

After overcoming her initial shock, Myrlie Evers ran back into the house and notified the police. Medgar was placed on his daughter Rena's mattress and rushed to the University of Mississippi Hospital, where he died less than an hour later -- at 1:14 A. M.

(Words and Music by Bob Dylan)
© 1963, 1964 Warner Bros. Inc
© Renewed 1991 Special Rider Music

Today, Medgar Evers was buried from the bullet he caught.
They lowered him down as a king...
On Jun 15, 1963, funeral services for Medgar Evers were held at the Masonic Temple. Anne Moody recalls:
This was the first time I had ever seen so many Negroes together. There were thousands and thousands of them there. Maybe Medgar's death had really brought them to the Movement.... Maybe his death would strengthen the ties between Negroes and Negro organizations. If this resulted, then truly his death was not in vain.

Just before the funeral services were over, I went outside.... There were two or three thousand outside that could not get inside the temple, and as they watched, their expression was that of anger, bitterness, and dismay....

Negroes formed a seemingly endless line as they began the march to the funeral home. They got angrier and angrier; however they went on quietly until they reached the downtown section where the boycott was. They tried to break through the barricades on Capitol Street, but the cops forced them back in line. When they reached the funeral home, the body was taken inside, and most of the procession dispersed....

Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi, New York, 1978, p. 276

About one thousand mostly younger members of the group began walking back toward Capitol Street, where the situation came close to developing into a riot, which was only prevented by John Doar, a Justice Department attorney, who managed to calm the crowd down by reminding them that Medgar himself would not have wanted violence.

Medgar Evers found his final resting place at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Twenty-five thousand mourners viewed the body in a Washington funeral home.

June 19 was the date of the final burial. As the procession drove toward the cemetery, Myrlie was amazed at the thousands of people who lined the streets, black and white people sharing grief. It was then that she realized that her husband was a hero not only to Mississippi but to the entire nation....

Mickey Levine of the American Veteran's Committee made it clear why Medgar was being buried here: "No soldier in this field has fought more courageously, more heroically than Medgar Evers.... We shall go to the Congress, we shall go to the people; he shall not have died in vain."

Jennie Brown, Medgar Evers -- Activist, Los Angeles, 1994, pp. 160-161


To Top of Page
To Manfred Helfert's Ramblings
To Table of Contents
To Starting Page